"It doesn't look good," Rep. Juan Carlos Zapata, a Miami Republican, said Thursday of the future in the Florida House of his bill that would let voters decide on a half-cent optional tax for Miami Dade College. Friday is the last day for the bill to be taken up, in the unlikely event that Speaker Larry Cretul puts it to a vote.
After the measure passed unanimously in the Senate Monday, what's holding it up in the House?
"Ask [Rep.] Ellyn Bogdanoff. Ask [Rep.] David Rivera," Zapata said. "There are people on our delegation deliberately blocking this legislation, and I think they should 'fess up."
Bogdanoff, a Fort Lauderdale Republican, chairs the House Finance and Tax Council -- which, wary of any measure that could raise taxes, did not move the bill forward to the House floor. Rivera, a Miami Republican and House budget leader, denied stalling the measure.
"We all do -- we've all signed a letter" backing the bill, Rivera said, laying responsibility for the bill's holdup on Bogdanoff and Zapata. "Everybody supports the bill. It is one of those issues that has united the delegation."
Later, Zapata said Rivera would be in meetings higher up with House leaders, in a position to know what might be going on.
Could there be a split among Miami-Dade Republicans?
"I don't know that the delegation is unanimous on the issue, but I know there's overwhelming support for it," said Miami Republican Rep. Marcelo Llorente, another House budget leader.
"We had the majority of the members of the delegation meet with Speaker Cretul [Wednesday]," said Rep. Anitere Flores, also a Miami Republican. "I can't speak for every member of the delegation."